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Credit: Zach Riddley

A Look Inside Nine Dragons Restaurant

When visiting Walt Disney World, there are details that we will miss. That’s why we’re grateful to Imagineer Zach Riddley, who will often share information on EPCOT on his Instagram. Here is his look inside Nine Dragons Restaurant:

Credit: Zach Riddley

Today we venture to another space in EPCOT deeply versed in mythology and storytelling of China.

Credit: Zach Riddley

The Nine Dragons Restaurant features contemporary Chinese cuisine amid ornate wood carvings, traditional lanterns and an exquisite collection of glass artwork that together tell a rich story. Dragons are symbols of power in Chinese culture and the image of the dragon is used in countless ways to invoke meaning and purpose to a space.

Credit: Zach Riddley

Related: Fun Facts About the China Pavilion

Credit: Zach Riddley

Do you know where you can find the nine dragons that give the restaurant its name?

Credit: Zach Riddley

Along the main dining room wall are nine stunning crystal dragon sculptures. I bet you may not know how those dragons came to be.

Credit: Zach Riddley

Imagineers were invited to the New York studio of Liuli – where glass artists Loretta Yang and Chang Yi create stunning works based on the traditional process of lost-wax casting. This technique dates back to the Han Dynasty and used to produce these amazing multi-colored glass sculptures. Our team selected nine crystal dragon sculptures and designed custom display boxes lined with gold leaf and set on glass cubes to allow the light to shine through and glow from within. These small jewel boxes radiate as focal points for the entire dining room. Here you can see each of the nine sculptures, representing dynamic poses.

Credit: Zach Riddley

The dragon motif is introduced at the lobby – where you are greeted with a massive glass mural depicting a dragon chasing a pearl – symbolizing a never-ending quest for knowledge, wisdom, and the pursuit of a better life for all people. Each element in the restaurant has a special meaning. The menu includes dishes from Sichuan, Hunan, and Canton provinces, giving patrons a tour of the diversity and regional variation that exists across China. Here you can partake in auspicious foods such as egg rolls and potstickers, which are made to look like gold bullions and gold ingots respectively, and are thus symbols of prosperity and wealth. Noodles serve as a metaphor for long life.

Credit: Zach Riddley

EPCOT is park about people…. about what makes us, us. And it’s details like these that bring that meaning of “us” to life.

Credit: Zach Riddley

Related: An Update on Walt Disney’s EPCOT Statue

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About Paula K

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.